St. Gertrude the Great

GertrudeProceeding from the central insight that Jesus is Lord and judge, but also a loving Savior, Gertrude meditated on Christ's great love for us. Her insights planted the seed in the church for the growth of devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Fostering our loving relationship with Jesus requires the same measures we take to show our love to spouse, family and friends: frequent communication, times of intimacy and quiet, loving acts of sacrifice and self-donation, listening and more.


Veteran's Day Commemoration at Victory Park in Rumson

Veteran's DayIt was a brilliantly sunny but cold morning for Rumson's Veteran's Day Commemoration at Victory Park. 

God of power

       Justice and mercy

Stir up in our hearts

       A spirit of gratitude

       And respect

For those who have

       Served our nation

       In war and in peace.

May their love and sacrifice for country

       Be returned by us

       In care, support

       And remembrance one hundred-fold.

 God of compassion

Shield all who defend the cause of freedom

In our nation’s service

Gather our deceased veterans close to your heart

And protect those still in our midst with

Health in body and spirit.

Prosper the cause of freedom they served.

Inspire many to follow their example of self-sacrifice

Remembering that it is better to serve

Than to be served

All Souls Day

Candles Remembering The Dead In A Polish Cemetery

All Souls' Day is time to remember our deceased loved ones and pray they pass over to a land of rest and peace, in the words of today's opening prayer at Mass.

What gives us rest and and peace is not simply dwelling in an Eden-like place of ecological balance, but resting in the presence of our Lord and all the saints.

Our prayers, acts of penance and works of mercy can help the deceased realize their heavenly goal and have always been looked upon by the church as meritorious acts.


Mary, First Among All Saints

Adaptation of A Classic Painting, Mary Mother of Mercy, Showing Crowd From A Modern World Youth Day

On this holy day, let us implore Mary for her intercession for God's help to keep us safe, especially those who are entrusted with the public safety and the common good. Let us give thanksgiving for those who protect us and ask God's protection on caregivers and protectors.


The Living Rosary 2017 Part II

Here are more photos of the Living Rosary which give a different perspective of the liturgy itself. The children group into five decades and each wears a distinctive color chosen for that particular decade. There are usually several children making up each "bead." The framework of the rosary is a plastic chain with the appropriately colored beads, consisting of plastic hoops. 

A group of 8th grade boys carry the cross to each "bead" along with a microphone which transmits the beginning of their prayer over an outdoor speaker system to enable the other children to know when to join in with the second part of the Hail Mary, The Our Father, or the Glory Be. 


Saint Bruno, Founder of The Carthusians

St Bruno-FounderSaintStatue

Saint Bruno founded a unique form of religious life, a way of being alone - together.

Carthusians live in individual cells with their own workshop, study, oratory and garden but eat some meals and pray sometimes in community. 

Their entire day is arranged around praying, working, reading and studying for God.

Bruno was a successful administrator, scholar and advisor, but longed for a more private life to which he returned even when repeatedly called out of seclusion by a former student who became pope and needed his advice.

Bruno is shown in this statue declining nomination as a bishop and with a skull to remind him of the fleeting nature of earthly honors and pleasures.

It is a peculiar phenomenon that the very busy often find the advice of the very quiet very valuable. 




Good King Wenceslas Looked Out On the Feast of Stephen


Wenceslas and His Page


...As the lyrics to the well-known Christmas carol go. He saw a poor man gathering firewood and asked his page who the man was. The page identified the man and the king (actually Duke Wenceslas) determined to set out and bring the man food and drink on the First Day of Christmas. 

The storm intensified as the king and the page set out toward the man's dwelling and the page lost heart. The king encouraged him to follow in his footsteps without looking into the wind and he regained spirit for the difficult journey.

Today we celebrate Wenceslas' feast day, who was eventually assassinated by a pagan brother in a struggle for the throne.








St. Lorenzo Ruiz and companions were a group of Christian missionaries canonized by St. Pope John Paul II for their martyrdom under the Towogawa

St. Lorenzo Ruiz at Shrine in Nagasaki, Japan

Shogunate in Japan during the 17th century. Ruiz, a Filipino catechist, is the protomartyr of the Phillipines and their national patron saint.




Do Not Light A Lamp and Place It Under A Bushel Basket

Flame1Jesus' warning in today's gospel about whoever seems to have little it will be taken away, while to those who have, more will be given is understood in the context of the remarks about not lighting a lamp and placing it under a bushel basket or under a bed. It echoes the parable of the talents, wherein the servant who buried his talent had it confiscated upon his master's return. 

Our faith is not meant to be hidden or stashed away for emergencies only. It is to be lived and to shine as brightly as we can burn. If we only have recourse to faith rarely and bury it away, we may find that it is extinguished entirely just when we need it most.


Sacrament of the Sick

Sacrament of the SickToday's gospel of Jesus healing the centurion's servant reminds us about the treasure we have in the Church's Sacrament of the Sick.

Finally rescued from being viewed as an anointing for heaven, it is now seen as a prayer and anointing for healing, to be called for sooner rather than later in our battle against sickness and disease. 

This new insight bears repeating and constant example by inviting, when appropriate, family members and loved ones to be present at the Sacrament of the Sick. The spiritual peace and strength bestowed by the sacrament is a beautiful ally for physical healing if recovery is hoped for. In hospice care, a peaceful and consoling presence of God can rest on the anointed.


Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross

Blessed Feast Day Everyone!

With great respect for Pierro della Francesca I've repaired his beautiful fresco of the Proving of the Holy Cross, the portion of his fresco series in Arezzo that most closely mirrors our Holy Cross Window, now in the choir loft.

This weekend would be a great time to read a little about the origin of the feastday and the history of St. Helena's pilgrimages to the Holy Land. 


Photoshopped version of the Death of Adam
An Imaginary "Repaired" Version of the Death of Adam

Certain of the panels have more deterioration than others. In many of them the blue sky has flaked and disappeared, and in the Death of Adam, above, many of the greens have faded and disappeared. Looking at della Francesca's other paintings, it isn't too hard to either copy or modify the trees from his intact paintings to fill in the background of the trees in "Death of Adam." The Tree of Life is taken from a the panel of the Queen of Sheba visiting Solomon. Some have argued that half of the tree was dead and half living. I'm not sure, but here's what it might look like if it were intact. Trees figure prominently in some of his other panels in this series and in his Baptism of Jesus by John, for instance. 

As we pray what kind of art to put in our reredos, it is well to consider the history of the iconography of the "Invention of the True Cross" in art.


Saint Onesiphorus

Modified from Wikipedia
Manuscript Showing Sosthenes, Apollo, Cephas, Tychicus, Epaphroditus, Cæsar and Onesiphorus.

Since Onesiphorus was named by St. Paul in Scripture, you'd think he'd be familiar to more people. When we realize that Onesiphorus was thanked by Paul, not only for embracing the faith, but for being loyal and helpful to Paul imprisoned in Rome, we have an example of true friendship for all ages.

He was apparently a convert to the faith in Ephesus and by one tradition was one of the seventy disciples sent out by Jesus two-by-two. Not only was he helpful to Paul at Ephesus, but traveled to Rome and tracked him down in prison in order to visit. 

Onesiporus was martyred for the Christian faith.

May his witness to Christ and his fidelity to Paul even when it was unpopular be an inspiration for us all today.

St. Aidan of Lindisfarne

6a0120a4f88a1c970b01bb09bb8ec8970d-500wiSt. Aidan was the second missionary called up to evangelize the lands of Northumbria. The first wasn't martyred or imprisoned, his methods were not working. St. Aidan, though he was pious and austere personally, was pastorally inviting.

St. Aidan's efforts met with unqualified success. His mission took birth from the Isle of Iona in a community founded by one of our Window Saints, St. Columkille (Columba). In Northumbria, Aidan eventually founded a community at Lindisfarne

Both communities of monks produced beautiful illustrated manuscripts - the Book of Kells and the Lindisfarne Gospels respectively.

There is usually more than one way to accomplish anything, St. Aidan is proof of that. Nor should we take someone else's failure as a prediction of our own efforts. Aidan kept the focus on his love for Jesus and the gospel. His love and compassion for those to whom he ministered flowed from that.





St. Fiacre

By Vassil (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons
Saint Fiacre would  have preferred to live a life of solitude as a monk. He even left Ireland for France to find it, but his reputation for efficacious healing prayer and his growing of medicinal herbs preceeded him and people flocked to him wherever he went.

We've become so conditioned to have negative associations with the word "drugs" - their abuse, their expense, their side effects, that we may forget the abundance of healing chemicals and substances found in nature alone. Most of today's drugs are either found in nature or synthesized to resemble and improve upon naturally healing compounds.

Let us thank God for the healing gifts of nature and for St. Fiacre's insight that the best combination is prayer and healing compounds.

Watch With Jesus For One Hour Every Thursday Night 6:00 - 7:00 PM

Gethsemane at Night

One of the traditions surrounding Thursday evening Holy Hours was that they were a watch with Jesus on Holy Thursday evening in the Garden of Gethsemane. They come as a direct invitation from Jesus to wait with Him in the Garden.

We are expanding our once monthly Thursday evening devotions to every Thursday 6:00 - 7:00 PM.

There are no group prayers, official hymns or ceremony. Come for all or any part of the hour and watch with Him.


St. Augustine

Saint Augustine, Bishop and Doctor of the Church

Saint Augustine's restless search for truth and love ended when he found Christ. 

Putting aside those modern interpreters who view Augustine as overly prudish or harsh, his writings are filled with love of Christ and an emphasis on the anticipated joys of heavenly beauty.

His passion for Christ and His Church burned even on his deathbed as the gates of Hippo were besieged by barbarians.

Perhaps his most famous quote is also his best:

Our hearts are restless until they rest in Thee, O God.

St. Louis IX of France, Holy Cross Window Saint

St. King Louis IX of France was to all accounts a man of exemplary piety and sincere faith. He led two Crusades to regain control of the Holy Sites in Jerusalem and died of illness during the second. He promoted the ecclesial reforms of the Dominicans and Franciscans. Whether or not he actually became a Franciscan tertiary is not certain, but it was for his support of the Franciscan Order that our window was originally installed in the Church of St. Francis in Philadelphia.

He is shown garbed in a robe with the royal symbol, fleur-de-lis and his earthly crown, holding not a scepter of power or an orb, but the Cross of Christ.